Backlit Printing Made Simple and Easy
Who doesn’t want their signs to be bright, beautiful and attention drawing at all hours of the day and the night? That is why backlit signage is being used. Backlit signs are designed to be viewed mainly when illuminated from the back, while the ambient lighting – natural daylight or artificial – serves to compliment the viewing conditions, displaying striking, eye catching images around the clock. Backlits are often used outdoors for bus shelters and directional signage and indoors in large spaces, such as malls, airports, train stations etc.
Creating backlits has always been and still continues to be one of the most challenging print applications. Matan Digital Printers has come up with a brilliant automation solution for this challenge, using a patented software algorithm. This unique solution is implemented on the new EFI Matan 8Q printer.
Over the years, there have been numerous techniques for creating backlit images, most of which involved the layering of several prints on various translucent or semi-opaque materials with or without adding a white layer in between them. Using these techniques demanded an exceptionally high skill and were very expensive to print and even more so to mount.
With today’s wide-format printing technology, double-sided printing is the leading technique for creating great looking backlit signs with bright, vibrant colors. The image is first printed on the front side of the backlit banner; the media is then rolled back and reloaded onto the printer with the print facing down; then a mirror image is printed onto the back side of the media, directly back to back with the first image.
Creating backlit signs is among the greatest challenges for large format printers, requiring a great amount of skill and expertise from the operator. The main challenge is to achieve perfect registration between the two sides, so that when lit from behind the image will be sharp and crisp, without fuzzy borders, blurred transitions and illegible texts.
When watching a skilled operator printing the second layer of a backlit image, you will usually see a lot of running back and forth between the print and the software. There will be quite a bit of waving and flashing with a manual flashlight, and then you will witness a lot of yanking and pulling on the media. All this is done in order to get the image to be printed in the exact correct location, precisely on the back of the previously printed layer. This is a very time consuming task, with exceptionally low yield, and therefore quite costly.
The EFI Matan 8Q is the only super wide printer that offers fully automatic backlit printing. This optional feature allows users to automatically print double-sided jobs with perfect alignment between both sides, with minimum manual intervention. The auto-backlit system on the EFI Matan 8Q uses an innovative patented camera-guided software algorithm that is capable of detecting any misalignment between the two sides, automatically correcting registration for perfectly aligned double sided prints. This fully automatic system completely eliminates the need for guesswork and manual manipulation. It is simple and easy to use, reducing the level of skill required from the operator. It dramatically increases the yield of backlit printing, turning this into a very profitable application.